The experience gained, camaraderie developed and the highs and lows shared with team mates is what makes playing the sport so satisfying. The realisation that hockey can grow stronger through the development of this Foundation is a positive for the sport.
The Hockey Foundation is aptly titled for its focus on grassroots hockey. The programmes delivered at junior and secondary schools provide the foundation from which players can progress to the high performance levels of our sport. In my experience, teaching and mastering the basic skills at the junior levels is the foundation for a lifetime of enjoyment and satisfaction in playing the game of hockey. Everyone from our current Black Sticks to those still enjoying masters hockey have all experienced and benefitted from the foundations provided by our regional and national grassroots programmes.
Hockey is a sport for the whole family from preschoolers to superannuitants. The sport provides for all, from those who just want to exercise and socialise through to those who aspire to be Olympians or compete at World Cups. My extended family has been involved in hockey for over 100 years and through five generations taking part in umpiring, coaching, administration and of course playing, from club and school through to international level. The game has provided us with healthy exercise and its truly international nature has enabled us to establish life-long friendships throughout the world.
My love of hockey started when I was 10. I loved the combination of running, hitting the ball hard and scoring goals. I have no doubt that playing hockey, together with the fantastic coaching I had along the way, helped instil in me important characteristics such as determination, mental toughness, the ability to focus, consideration for others and especially the value of being fit and active. These lessons have greatly influenced my life to date and I hope my children will be able to experience the wonderful life-shaping opportunities that hockey offers.
I’m a great believer in the importance of sport and what it teaches young people. I’ve played and followed hockey most of my life and I’m truly taken with the foresight and commitment of Hockey New Zealand. I’m thrilled to be able to help foster and develop junior hockey as these are our next Black Sticks. But grassroots sport delivers much more than just our next international stars. It keeps kids active in these technology-driven times, it teaches lifelong skills like working as a team and respecting others, and it unites communities regardless of their race, wealth or background.